Robert Capa, co-founder of Magnum, notably said: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” Interpreting this motto, the collective’s associated practitioners have now looked to redefine themes of proximity and truth through the project, Closer. Encompassing traditional and contemporary practices, these new pieces explore a sense of immediacy as a creative device in the modern world.
Founded in Paris in 1947, Magnum began as an artists’ cooperative and has since become a respected agency, fostering talent through a shared vision for truth and excellence. Coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the agency, the prints from this series are available as part of the June Square Print Sale. Conceived in order to reflect on the legacy of Magnum’s four co-founders, the signed prints are available online until 9 June.
Amongst those featured is Matt Black (b. 1970), who examines the relationship between poverty, agriculture and the environment. Working across American and Mexico, his images aim to capture current issues such as migration and unemployment. When considering the theme, Black observed: “You can be right next to something and still not see it. Or you can be across the street and connect. I think this is also what Capa meant: don’t just be there, feel it. Dive in.”
Similarly, Alex Webb’s (b. 1952) practice investigates proximity through street photography; having resided in Mexico for over 40 years, he has formed a personal connection to the vibrant city of Oaxaca. “Each time I photograph this mysterious southern city, I discover another hidden street, another obscure festival, and, surprisingly, something more about myself. Perhaps Capa’s advice about getting closer refers to the heart as well as to the feet.”
The sale also includes an example from master of photojournalism, Martin Parr (b. 1952) whose colour compositions embody what it means to move nearer to his subjects. The included image is an invasive shot of a sunbathing holiday-maker, taken in the Mal del Plata resort in Argentina. A favourite location of Parr’s due to the early morning heat, he found that he could, “come up close on some of the real characters.”
Magnum’s Closer square print sale runs from Monday 5 June at 8AM EST until Friday, 9 June 2017 at 6PM EST. Signed and estate stamped, museum quality, 6×6” prints from over 70 artists will exceptionally be available for $100, for 5 days only, from shop.magnumphotos.com.
1. Cotton Candy. Oaxaca, Mexico. 1990 © Alex Webb / Magnum Photos.